Nuzhat Uthmani is a Primary Teacher and EIS rep in Glasgow. She completed her PGDE in Primary Education at the University of Strathclyde.

I came to teaching after many years of working in financial services and as an entrepreneur running my own catering business. While catering, I was expecting my second child which encouraged me to start reading up on early child development. The more I read, the more interested I became in this field and decided to go back to college with a view of a career change. I completed an HND Early Education and Childcare, worked in nurseries for a couple of years and then decided to take the next step in becoming a teacher.

I completed the PGDE in Primary Education from the University of Strathclyde. There is no doubt that it was a difficult course, in terms of the workload; coupled with looking after a young family, it was very challenging. Most evenings and weekends were spent writing essays or planning for lessons. It was common at that stage to spend three hours planning and resourcing a 45-minute lesson! It would have been a very difficult qualification to complete without my husband and mother who helped me with household responsibilities and childcare.

When I stepped in front of the class for the first time I had a sense of disbelief but coupled with a sense of empowerment and excitement. It took me a long time to shake off the feeling of always being observed by others; I worried that pupils and parents were going to find out that I hardly had any experience. It took many months for my self-confidence to build up.

I am muslim and in terms of observing Ramadan alongside teaching, have always found my colleagues to be very supportive of my desire to fast. No concessions have been made for me, such as an extra break or being able to have some time out of class, and I have never asked for these. I have always got the impression that management see it as my own choice if I want to fast and should therefore adjust my own routines accordingly.

For BAME people interested in teaching, I would ask them to think about the unique experiences they can bring to the classroom. In terms of their experience of ethnicity, diversity, exposure to other languages and cultures.

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